Latest Special issue: Consumer protection

General antitrust

The UK Government publishes its response to the consultation proposing a wide range of far-reaching changes to the competition and consumer protection regimes New
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 20 April 2022 the UK government published its response to the consultation launched in July 2021, proposing a wide range of far-reaching changes to the UK competition and consumer protection regimes (see our blog post on the consultation here). Taking into account the feedback received from (...)

The German Competition Authority launches sector inquiry into online credit scoring used in the German online retail sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt launches sector inquiry into scoring in the online retail sector* The Bundeskartellamt has launched a sector inquiry under consumer protection law into “scoring” practices used in the online retail sector. It deals with retailers’ prac-tices to check consumers’ credit standing, (...)

The UK Competition Authority prioritises digital markets and sustainability as key focus areas in its 2022-2023 annual plan
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
Digital markets and Sustainability are key focus areas of the CMA’s 2022-2023 Annual Plan* On 24 March 2022, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its 2022-2023 Annual Plan, setting out the focus areas for the UK’s principal competition and consumer protection regulator. In (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds acquisition deal between two major cyber safety companies could reduce competition in cyber safety software options (Avast / NortonLifeLock)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA finds NortonLifeLock purchase of Avast could reduce competition* The CMA has found that NortonLifeLock’s approximately £6bn purchase of Avast raises competition concerns and may now be referred for an in-depth investigation. NortonLifeLock and Avast both offer cyber safety software to (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority recommends not to approve the constitutional reform initiative in electricity matters due to the risks of affecting consumers and companies
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Due to the risks of affecting consumers and companies, Cofece recommends not to approve the constitutional reform initiative in electricity matters* The approval of the Initiative would suppress competition in the sector and eliminate the regulation mechanisms that allow its efficient (...)

The US FTC submits a comment to the Food and Drug Administration in response to a request for comment on a proposed rule on establishing over-the-counter hearing aids
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Comment to Food and Drug Administration Supports Agency’s Proposed Rule on Establishing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids* The Federal Trade Commission staff has submitted a comment to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to FDA’s request for comment on its proposed rule on (...)

The US FTC issues an order aimed at protecting retail fuel customers following a merger between 2 companies in the energy sector (Global Partners / Wheels)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Order Protects Retail Fuel Customers Following Global Partners LP’s Acquisition of Wheels* Proposed order preserves competition by requiring divestiture of 7 retail gasoline and diesel stations in Connecticut Global Partners LP and Richard Wiehl have agreed to divest to Petroleum Marketing (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its latest "Airline Competition in Australia" report which reveals that consumers will benefit from increased competition and cheaper fares on the country’s busiest routes once borders reopen
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Consumers to benefit from increased competition on busiest airline routes* Millions of Australians are set to benefit from increased competition and cheaper airfares on Australia’s busiest routes as state and territory borders reopen and the domestic airline industry prepares for a peak summer (...)

The US FTC adopts a policy statement outlining its criminal antitrust enforcement efforts and its plans to reinforce interagency collaboration and transparency
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
On November 18, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 4-0 to adopt a new policy statement outlining the commission’s plans to expand its criminal referral program in an effort to prevent and deter corporate crime stemming from consumer protection and criminal antitrust misconduct. The (...)

The Taiwanese Competition Authority issues a fine for deceptive trade practices over the use of a competitor’s name in online ads (Easytravel / Agoda)
Baker McKenzie (Taipei)
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Baker McKenzie (Taipei)
Companies are advised to review their online marketing strategies in light of the new decision and current Taiwan Fair Trade Commission ("TFTC") guidance. TFTC guidance on Article 25 of the Taiwan Fair Trade Law, which addresses deceptive or unfair conduct, states that using a competitor’s name (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes interim report on its sector inquiry into messenger and video services
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes interim report on its sector inquiry into messenger and video services* Currently many users are concerned about how safe their personal data are in messenger and video services. Should legislators and authorities ensure the possibility for users to easily (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its responses to two Government consultations on reforming competition policy and on adopting a new pro-competition regime for digital markets
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA welcomes government proposals on new powers* The CMA has responded to the government’s proposals to enhance its ability to tackle breaches of competition and consumer law and empower the Digital Markets Unit (DMU). Changes would see the CMA given the power to declare companies in breach of (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a new Green Claims Code and announces that it will start carrying out a full review of misleading sustainability and environmental claims
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
UK clampdown on greenwashing As the importance of sustainability and eco-friendliness grows among consumers worldwide, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concerns that an increasing number of businesses misleadingly market their products and services as environmentally (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation following referral from Austria to assess the proposed acquisition of a company specialized in the supply of customer relationship management software by a Big Tech company (Kustomer / Facebook)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Facebook* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Facebook under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the (...)

The German Competition Authority presents the results of its sector inquiry into mobile apps which examines consumer rights
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Insufficient consumer protection in mobile apps: Bundeskartellamt identifies problems and proposes possible solutions* The Bundeskartellamt has today presented the results of its sector inquiry into mobile apps to examine consumer rights. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: “Apps (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority releases draft report on competition in the retail grocery sector, finding that competition is not working well, and proposing a number of policy options for improvement
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission releases draft report on competition in the retail grocery sector* The Commerce Commission’s draft report into competition in the retail grocery sector has found that competition is not working well for consumers. “If competition was more effective, retailers would face stronger (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes a study on the national online advertising sector
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC publishes a study on the online advertising sector in Spain* It analyses the competition conditions and warns that there is a high concentration level. It estimates that Google and Facebook absorb more than 70% of the market revenue. It points out risks such as opacity and other (...)

The Australian Competition Authority examines competition and consumer concerns with general online retail marketplaces (eBay / Amazon / Kogan / Catch)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Competition, consumer issues in general online marketplaces to be examined* The ACCC is examining competition and consumer concerns with general online retail marketplaces such as eBay Australia, Amazon Australia, Kogan and Catch.com.au as part of its inquiry into digital platform services in (...)

The UK Government consults on its ambitious reform of national competition policy, including changes to allow Government to play a more active role in shaping national competition policy and to increase the Competition Authority’s investigative and enforcement powers
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
On 20 July 2021, the UK Government launched its consultation on wide-ranging reforms to “bring [the UK’s] competition and consumer policies into the 21st century” [1] (the “Consultation”). While recognising that the UK’s competition regime “starts from a strong foundation” and “is internationally (...)

The UK Government consults on proposals aimed at improving its competition regime and strengthening its Competition Authority post COVID-19, including updates to merger review, investigation tools, interim measures, fines and more direct intervention in consumer protection Free
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
On 20 July 2021, the government launched a consultation containing substantial proposals that could herald the most important reform of the UK competition regime in 25 years (the consultation). The proposals follow multiple reports and papers and, if they survive the consultation process, could (...)

The UK Government launches a consultation on a wide range of far-reaching changes it is proposing to the UK competition and consumer protection regimes
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 20 July 2021 the UK government launched a consultation on a wide range of far-reaching changes it is proposing to the UK competition and consumer protection regimes. As a result of Brexit the UK is now in a position to decide, independently from the EU Commission, how it promotes and (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority carries out studies into whether consumers and businesses could benefit from better price-quality ratios for their broadband, television, fixed telephony and data connections
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM explores regulation of access to telecom networks* Over the past few months, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has carried out studies into whether consumers and businesses could benefit from better price-quality ratios for their broadband, television, fixed (...)

The US FTC announces a series of new reviews scheduled for 2022 regarding its key guides and rules
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a series of new reviews scheduled for 2022 regarding key FTC guides and rules. Consumer-facing businesses should pay close attention to these reviews. While FTC reviews are periodic and can be routine, they can also result in fundamental (...)

The UK Competition Authority consults the Government to replace the Retained Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation with new Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) is consulting on its proposed recommendation to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to replace the retained Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (“retained VABER”) with a new UK Vertical Agreements Block (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority publishes a study demonstrating that expanding the obligation to notify mergers would create significant consumer benefit
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
FCCA study: Expanding the obligation to notify mergers would create significant consumer benefit* Study by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority shows that the current national turnover thresholds allow harmful merges to escape the scrutiny of the authority. The study shows that the (...)

The EU Commission publishes a preliminary report setting out the initial findings of its sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 9 June 2021, the European Commission (EC) published a Preliminary Report setting out the initial findings of its sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things (“IoT”). The consumer IoT sector encompasses services, devices and technologies that support the interaction of consumers with (...)

The EU Commission publishes the initial findings of its inquiry into consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry page contents
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission publishes initial findings of consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry Page contents* The European Commission has published today the preliminary results of its competition sector inquiry into markets for consumer Internet of Things (IoT) related products and services (...)

The Czech Competition Authority initiates a pharmaceutical sector inquiry
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of complaints from competitors in the pharmaceutical sector, associations of pharmaceutical companies and the public, especially in relation to the distribution of medicines. The pharmaceutical sector was also subject to changes both at (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority initiates investigation into competition conditions in the national distribution of liquefied petroleum gas
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE initiates an investigation to determine the existence of competition conditions in the distribution of liquefied petroleum gas at the national level* Shall the absence of effective competition conditions be detected, the Energy Regulatory Commission, as authority of the sector, could (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes draft guidance designed to help businesses understand and comply with their existing legal obligations under consumer protection law after its in-depth market investigation regarding environmental claims
Bird & Bird (London)
Sustainability (or environmental) claims are increasingly part of the purchasing experience for consumers. Such claims can be made in the context of advertising, on product labels and within accompanying product information such as e-newsletters. Sustainability claims will typically state that (...)

The US Senate Judiciary Committee approves new HSR filing fees for large mergers and would require them to be adjusted annually based on changes in the consumer price index
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
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Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
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Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
HSR Filing Fees For Large Acquisitions May Be Increased* On May 13th, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved and sent on to the full Senate the “Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2021.” The Bill, sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley, and approved with bipartisan support, (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes the preliminary report on the e-marketplace sector inquiry
ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
Recent developments in digitalization have triggered the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) to scrutinize more closely e-marketplace business models. The TCA has carried out a sector inquiry on e-marketplaces for this purpose and a preliminary report (“Report”) has been published on the official (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches its Digital Markets Unit in order to boost and regulate online competition
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
New watchdog to boost online competition launches* A tough new regulator to help make sure tech giants such as Facebook and Google cannot exploit their market dominance to crowd out competition and stifle innovation online has launched. Digital Markets Unit begins work marking major milestone (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches the Digital Markets Unit to introduce, maintain and enforce a code of conduct regulating the provision of digital and online services
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 7 April 2021, the Digital Markets Unit ("DMU") was launched within the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA"). The DMU will, in the future, be tasked with oversight of the UK’s new digital regulatory regime, with powers and duties enshrined in legislation. Key takeaways The DMU has (...)

The US FTC announces a multilateral working group to build a new approach to pharmaceutical mergers
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
Reform of traditional antitrust enforcement and competition law globally has been an on-going discussion amongst enforcers, politicians, advisors, economic experts, and academics. While conversations pertaining to antitrust reforms have been widely centered around resolving the issues presented (...)

The Australian Competition Authority seeks feedback from consumers on choice and competition in internet search and web browsers
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Feedback sought on choice and competition in internet search and web browsers* The ACCC is seeking submissions from consumers and industry participants about choice screens, which give users a choice of internet search services on mobiles and tablets, rather than a pre-selected search service, (...)

The Australian Competition Authority accepts a court-enforceable undertaking from two credit card companies about concerns that one of them may have limited competition regarding debit card acceptance through its dealings with large merchants (Visa)
Ashurst (Sydney)
On 10 March 2021, Visa AP (Australia) Pty Ltd and Visa Worldwide Pte Limited (together, "Visa") entered into a court enforceable undertaking with the Australian Competition Consumer Commission ("ACCC"), seeking to address the ACCC’s concerns that Visa was leveraging its substantial market power (...)

The Indian Government enacts the comprehensive Information Technology Rules providing governance structures for social media and related companies
Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (Ahmedabad)
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Auro University (Surat)
Introduction The Indian Government in February, 2021 enacted the comprehensive Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“Media Code”) providing governance structures for social media and related companies. It encompasses an embargo of (...)

The UK Parliament issues an independent report which calls for streamlining and enhanced legal predictability in the national antitrust regime
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
Commissioned by the U.K. government to review its antitrust regime, Conservative Member of Parliament John Penrose’s “Power to the People” report proposes streamlined, modest changes rather than wholesale reform to the current regime. The report’s recommendations are outlined below: Merger reviews (...)

The UK Parliament publishes recommendations on how competition law and the consumer protection regime could be improved
Ashurst (London)
In September 2020, John Penrose MP was commissioned by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for BEIS to write an independent report on how the UK’s approach to competition and consumer issues could be improved. In particular, the UK Government’s terms of reference (...)

The UK Parliament publishes an independent report containing proposals to strengthen the competition and consumer law regime
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
Introduction On 16 February 2021, Conservative member of Parliament (“MP”) John Penrose published his much-anticipated independent report on how the UK’s competition regime can evolve and improve, within the context of economic recovery from Covid-19 and the end of the Brexit transition period. (...)

The UK Parliament publishes an independent report by MP John Penrose on the national approach to competition and consumer protection policy highlighting issues related to applied economics
Oxera (London)
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Oxera (London)
The Penrose Review investigated the state of competition and consumer protection policy in the UK, as well as economic regulation in network sectors. Some of the consumer protection proposals would be beneficial to consumers; however, others are untested and may have unintended consequences. In (...)

The UK Parliament publishes proposals for a radical overhaul of the national competition regime following Brexit
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
On 16 February, John Penrose MP published his long-awaited report into the UK’s competition regime. Penrose was tasked by the UK Government with reviewing how the UK’s competition regime can: Play a central role in meeting the challenges of the post COVID-19 economy and in driving recovery. The (...)

The UK Parliament publishes recommendations for a stronger competition and consumer protection regime
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 16 February the UK government published a Report by John Penrose MP, commissioned earlier this year to lead a review on how the UK’s competition regime will need to evolve to meet its policy aims of promoting a dynamic, innovation-driven economy which delivers for consumers and businesses (...)

The UK Parliament publishes an independent report on the state of national competition law
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Gunnercooke (London)
On 16 February 2021, John Penrose MP published an independent report on improving competition and consumer protection in the UK (the Report). It finds that the UK’s competition and consumer regime “has a good reputation, but not a great one”; progress on “cutting the costs of red tape” has stalled; (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority publishes a study regarding competition risks in relation to paid ranking
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
On 2 February 2021, the Dutch Authority of Consumers and Markets (“ACM”) published a study on paid ranking. Paid ranking is a practice whereby businesses pay online platforms for a better position in search results. The ACM found that paid ranking creates risks for consumers and may even restrict (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes new research on algorithms showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA lifts the lid on impact of algorithms* The CMA has published new research on algorithms, showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets and harm consumers if they are misused. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is now seeking evidence from academics and industry (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes report into algorithms and their harm on consumers and competition law
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The impact algorithms continue to have on market dynamics has been under scrutiny by competition authorities around the world in recent years. On 19 January 2021, the CMA published a report, following its investigation into algorithms and their potential harms on competition law. The paper (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a paper on the impact of algorithms on competition in digital markets and consumer welfare
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a paper on 19 January on the impact of algorithms on competition in digital markets and consumer welfare. The CMA followed up its paper with a call for evidence from market participants, academics, and industry experts, and with a (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority announces its decision to launch a fully-fledged investigation against Big Tech companies (Facebook / WhatsApp)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
Introduction The Competition Board recently announced its decision to launch a fully fledged investigation, ex officio, against Facebook Inc, Facebook Ireland Ltd, WhatsApp Inc and WhatsApp LLC (together, ’Facebook’) in order to assess whether they had violated Article 6 of Law 4054 on the (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Latvian Competition Authority permits entrepreneurs to make joint purchases of raw materials due to disruptions from sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus subject to the Authority’s clearance
Latvian Competition Council (Riga)
The CC: Entrepreneurs may agree to jointly purchase raw materials in the event of a shortage of raw materials As a result of the Russian Federation’s military aggression supported by the Republic of Belarus and the associated sanctions imposed on these countries, businesses in several sectors (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority sanctions four supermarket chains for retail price fixing practices (Auchan / Lidl / Modelo / Continente / Pingo Doce)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC sanctions Auchan, Lidl, Modelo Continente, Pingo Doce, a supplier of soft drinks and two managers for colluding on prices to the detriment of consumers* The decision The AdC (Portuguese Competition Authority) has sanctioned four supermarket chains – Auchan, Lidl, Modelo Continente and (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Big Tech companies in online display advertising (Google / Meta)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google and Meta, in online display advertising* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether an agreement between Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) for online display (...)

The EU Commission consults on draft guidance on sustainability agreements
Free University of Brussels (ULB)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 1 March 2022, the European Commission ("Commission") published its draft revised Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations and Horizontal Guidelines, which include a new chapter on the assessment of sustainability agreements under competition law. The consultation is open until 26 April 2022. (...)

The US DoJ and FBI announce an initiative to deter, detect and prosecute those who would exploit supply chain disruptions to engage in collusive conduct Free
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Department of Justice Announces Initiative to Protect Americans from Collusive Schemes Amid Supply Chain Disruptions* Initiative Puts Business Community on Notice that the Antitrust Division is Looking Out for Companies that Would Exploit Supply Chain Disruptions to Engage in Anticompetitive (...)

The Australian Competition Authority authorises cooperation in retail goods supply chain for West and North of the country due to flooding in the South
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC authorises cooperation in retail goods supply chain to WA and NT* The ACCC has granted an urgent interim authorisation permitting the cooperation and sharing of information by companies in the supply chain to ensure critical retail goods, including food supplies, are able to reach (...)

The Australian Competition Authority investigates allegations of excessive pricing and selling practices relating to rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 Free
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Update on action on rapid antigen test pricing* The ACCC is continuing to receive a high number of consumer reports about pricing and selling practices relating to rapid antigen tests in Australia and is investigating several potential Australian Consumer Law breaches. The ACCC has received (...)

The German Competition Authority rejects the national milk producers’ proposed uniform mark-up system for ensuring minimum guaranteed income level for all raw milk producers due to it being price-fixing
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
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Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
1. Introduction 1.1 Competitor cooperations in pursuit of sustainability and human rights, or to reach broader ESG (Environment – Social – Governance) goals, have become a key element for companies’ global business strategies. In this context, “green competition law”, i.e. the intersection between (...)

The German Competition Authority rejects a sustainability agreement in the milk sector as it raises competition concerns
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
On January 18, 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published a press release of its review of two sustainability initiatives (see our blog post here). Only a week later, on January 25, 2022, the FCO provided further guidance for the implementation of sustainability initiatives under (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes fines totaling €10M on four e-commerce businesses for implementing unfair commercial practices during the COVID-19 outbreak (Unieuro / Mediaworld / Leroy Merlin / Monclick) Free
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: total fines of more than 10 million Euro imposed on Unieuro, Mediaworld, Leroy Merlin and Monclick* The four companies implemented unfair commercial practices in their e-commerce businesses The Italian Competition Authority has closed three proceedings initiated against Unieuro S.p.A. (...)

The US FTC approves a final order requiring a State dental licensing agency to stop unreasonably excluding lower-cost online and teledentistry providers from competing (Alabama Board of Dental Examiners)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Alabama Board of Dental Examiners to Stop Unreasonably Excluding Lower Cost Online and Teledentistry Providers from Competing* Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that the Alabama Board (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally finds that a lighting equipment manufacturer has violated competition law by preventing retailers from offering discounts online (Dar Lighting)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA provisionally finds lighting firm illegally banned discounts* The CMA has provisionally found that Dar Lighting Limited has broken competition law by preventing retailers from offering discounts online. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a Statement of Objections to (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines two Big Tech companies €10M for commercial use of user data (Google / Apple)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: $20 million sanctions against Google and Apple for commercial use of user data* The Authority has found two violations of the Consumer Code, one for information deficiencies and another for aggressive practices regarding the acquisition and use of consumer data The Italian Competition (...)

The French Competition Authority states objections to 14 professional organisations and 101 companies in the foodstuff sector for agreeing not to communicate on the presence of Bisphenol A in their products
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Bisphenol A in food containers: the general rapporteur indicates having stated objections to 101 companies and 14 professional organisations* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that objections were stated a few days ago in the manufacture and retail of foodstuffs (...)

The US FTC reaches proposed settlement with a State dental licensing agency regarding charges that it unreasonably excluded lower-cost online and teledentistry providers (Alabama Board of Dental Examiners)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Alabama Board of Dental Examiners Agrees to Settle FTC Charges that It Unreasonably Excluded Lower Cost Online and Teledentistry Providers from Competition* To settle FTC charges that its actions violated the antitrust laws, the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama has agreed to stop requiring (...)

The US FTC streamlines consumer protection and competition investigations in eight key enforcement areas to enable higher caseload
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Streamlines Consumer Protection and Competition Investigations in Eight Key Enforcement Areas to Enable Higher Caseload* Agency to Focus on Service Members and Veterans; Children; Algorithmic and Biometric Bias; Deceptive and Manipulative Conduct on the Internet; and Repair Restrictions; (...)

The US FTC and DoJ issue joint statement to preserve competition in post-hurricane relief efforts
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department Issue Joint Statement to Preserve Competition in Post-Hurricane Relief Efforts* The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today issued a joint statement detailing antitrust guidance for businesses taking part (...)

The New Zealand High Court fines a container company and its director for attempted collusion with a rival to charge consumers the same booking fee (SCS Christchurch)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Penalties imposed in container depot price fixing case* The High Court has ordered Specialised Container Services (Christchurch) Limited (SCS Christchurch) and its director Grant Tregurtha to pay penalties in relation to an attempted price fix of “vehicle booking system” fees. The Commission (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal certifies the first competition class action on behalf of 46 million consumers who suffered loss as a result of anti-competitive interchange fees imposed by a payment company between 1992 and 2008 (Merricks / MasterCard)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 18 August 2021, the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT") certified the application by Mr Walter Merricks CBE to bring an opt-out class action on behalf of 46 million UK consumers who suffered loss as a result of anticompetitive interchange fees imposed by Mastercard between 1992 and 2008. (...)

The US FTC urges the Federal Reserve Board to require debit card gatekeepers to compete fairly
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Urges Federal Reserve Board to Require Debit Card Gatekeepers to Compete Fairly* As mobile and electronic payments become the norm, Commission staff advocate for more competition to protect businesses and families from unfair fees The Federal Trade Commission announced that staff have (...)

The US FTC withdraws from the remaining case against a pharmaceutical company after the Supreme Court decides to strip consumers of relief (AbbVie / Allergan)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Federal Trade Commission Withdraws Remaining Case against AbbVie after Supreme Court Decision Strips Consumers of Relief* After the Supreme Court declined to review a ruling from the Third Circuit that AbbVie used sham litigation to illegally maintain a monopoly, the Federal Trade Commission (...)

The Russian Competition Authority initiates a case against the national postal operator for charging extra to deliver parcels to hard-to-reach places, resulting in ending of the problematic practice (Russian Post)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Russian Post has violated the antimonopoly legislation* The postal service charged a 100% extra for sending parcels from/to hard-to-reach areas. Earlier, the FAS Russia issued a warning to Russian Post JSC to stop charging such extras. Due to failure to comply with the warning within the (...)

The Czech Competition Authority applies an alternative solution to the potential competition issue related to vertical resale price agreements and customer restriction agreements
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
The Office for the Protection of Competition (Office) recently applied an alternative solution to a potential competition issue related to vertical resale price agreements and customer restriction agreements. Although the Office discovered the existence of the agreements, it did not initiate (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority announces the launch of a full-fledged investigation against thirty-two undertakings for gentlemen’s agreements in labor markets across Turkey (Yemek Sepeti / Zomato / Commencis...)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
On April 20, 2021, the Turkish Competition Authority (“Authority”) announced on its website that the Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) had launched a full-fledged investigation against thirty-two undertakings for gentlemen’s agreements in labor markets across Turkey, in order to determine whether (...)

The Australian Competition Authority authorises dairy farmers’ organisation to implement a licensing scheme (Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC authorises Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation to implement ’Fair Go Dairy’ licensing scheme* The ACCC has authorised the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation Limited (QDO) to give effect to its proposed ‘Fair Go Dairy’ licensing scheme for five years. Under the scheme, QDO will grant (...)

The Munich Regional Court issues two preliminary injunctions regarding a cooperation agreement that has the effect of restricting competition on the market for health portals (Google / German Ministry of Health)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2021, the Regional Court of Munich I (the “Court”) issued two preliminary injunctions against Google Ireland Ltd. (“Google”) and the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the German Federal Ministry of Health (“the Ministry”), at the request of health platform NetDoktor.de (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes a €5.76 million fine on colluding suppliers of radio-pharmaceuticals equipment (Novartis Groupe France / Advanced Accelerator Applications Ibérica / Glo Holdco / Curium Pharma Spain)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Spanish Competition Authority, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (“CNMC”), imposed total fines of € 5,76 million on Novartis Groupe France and its Spanish subsidiary Advanced Accelerator Applications Ibérica, SLU (“AAA”), Glo Holdco and its Spanish subsidiary Curium Pharma (...)

The German Competition Authority fines steel forging companies for illegal exchange of information (CDP Bharat Forge / Bharat Forge CDP / Johann Hay Automobiltechnik)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release issued on 4 February 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) fined three steel forging companies and two responsible individuals a total amount of approximately € 35 million for anti-competitive information exchange between October 2002 and December 2018. (...)

The UK Competition Authority warns firms over price-fixing of supplies to disabled students
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA warns firms over price-fixing of supplies to disabled students* The CMA has cautioned companies supplying goods and services to disabled university students, following concerns that there may have been price-fixing. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has sent advisory letters to (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases an interim report addressing the lack of competition and transparency in the digital advertising technology market
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Lack of competition in ad tech affecting publishers, advertisers and consumers* A lack of competition and transparency in the digital advertising technology supply chain is impacting publishers, advertisers and consumers and needs to be addressed, according to the interim report for the ACCC’s (...)

The EU Commission imposes fines in the video games sector for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Strelia (Brussels)
One of the final cases resulting from the European Commission’s e-commerce sector enquiry has come to a conclusion. On 20 January 2021, the Directorate-General for Competition fined Valve Corporation, owner of the Steam game distribution platform, and five personal computer (PC) video game (...)

The German Competition Authority monitors cooperation in the telecommunication sector (Telefónica / Deutsche Telekom / Vodafone)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
The German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) will monitor a future broadband development cooperation between Deutsche Telekom AG, Vodafone and Telefonica aimed at closing gaps (so called “grey spots”) in their mobile telecommunication networks. The telecommunications companies are planning a tri-party (...)

The German Competition Authority includes a third national telecommunications company in the companies’ cooperation agreements on eliminating grey zones to safeguard competition (Telefónica / Deutsche Telekom / Vodafone)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Safeguarding competition in mobile communication cooperations - Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone plan to jointly eliminate “grey spots”* Telefónica (o2), Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone plan to enter into mutual cooperations to close gaps in their mobile communication networks, so-called (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority closes its investigation into an alleged conspiracy by large media companies (Postmedia / Torstar)
Conway Baxter Wilson (Ottawa)
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Law Society of Ontario (Ottawa)
Introduction Canada’s Competition Bureau (‘the Bureau’), which assists the Commissioner of Competition (‘the Commissioner’) in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act (‘the Act’), announced on 7 January 2021 that the Commissioner closed the investigation into Postmedia Network (...)

The EU Commission publishes an assessment that seeks feedback on its initiative to define the application of EU competition law to collective bargaining agreements for self-employed workers
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
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King & Spalding (Brussels)
On 6 January 2021, the European Commission published an "Inception Impact Assessment" seeking feedback on an initiative aimed at defining EU competition law’s scope of application to "self-employed" workers (in advance of an open public consultation anticipated for spring 2021). This is part of (...)

The EU Commission seeks feedback on competition rules on collective bargaining agreements for self-employed individuals
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (Vienna)
On 6 January 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) launched an inception impact assessment on an initiative that seeks to clarify the applicability of EU competition rules to collective bargaining agreements involving “solo” self-employed individuals. The initiative stems from several (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Lithuanian Competition Authority terminates an investigation into suspected abuse of dominance in the waste management sector (Toksika)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Following amendment of service contract with customers by Toksika, Konkurencijos Taryba terminates investigation into suspected abuse of dominance* The Lithuanian competition authority has terminated an investigation into a suspected abuse of dominance by a hazardous waste management company (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority assesses the adjusted proposal of a Big Tech company regarding its conditions for dating apps (Apple)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM to assess adjusted proposal of Apple regarding its conditions for dating apps* On Sunday, March 27, Apple adjusted its proposal concerning compliance with the requirements set by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) under Dutch and European competition rules. ACM (...)

The Australian Competition Authority takes action against alleged misleading conduct by a Big Tech company for publishing crypto ads on social media (Meta)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC takes action over alleged misleading conduct by Meta for publishing scam celebrity crypto ads on Facebook* The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Facebook owner Meta Platforms, Inc. and Meta Platforms Ireland Limited (together: Meta) alleging that they engaged in (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts a Big Tech company’s revised offer of commitments relating to its proposed removal of third-party cookies from a browser (Google Privacy Sandbox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to keep ‘close eye’ on Google as it secures final Privacy Sandbox commitments* The CMA has accepted a revised offer from Google of commitments relating to its proposed removal of third-party cookies from the Chrome browser (known as the Privacy Sandbox proposals). The CMA has secured (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts a Big Tech company’s commitments in its treatment of third-party cookies (Google Privacy Sandbox)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 February 2022, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued its decision to accept the commitments offered by Google in relation to its Privacy Sandbox proposals (“the Decision”). The Decision is noteworthy in several respects. First, it highlights the complicated tradeoffs (...)

The EU General Court annuls in part the Commission’s decision imposing a fine of €1.06 billion on the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer (Intel)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court annuls in part the Commission decision imposing a fine of € 1.06 billion on Intel* The Commission’s analysis is incomplete and does not make it possible to establish to the requisite legal standard that the rebates at issue were capable of having, or likely to have, (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines a German supermarket for forcing suppliers to accept unfavourable contract terms, applying unfair retrospective discounts and mislabelling products to suggest domestic production (Kaufland Polska Markety)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Decisions of the President of UOKiK on Kaufland* Kaufland Polska Markety required suppliers to reduce the price of agricultural and food products after their sale, unfairly using its contractual advantage. Moreover, it misled consumers as to the country of origin of the vegetables. The (...)

The Rotterdam District Court largely denies a Big Tech company’s requests to block the Dutch Competition Authority’s publication of decision and fines in abuse of dominance case against dating-app developers (Apple)
Hausfeld (Amsterdam)
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Hausfeld (Amsterdam)
In a decision of 24 August 2021, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (the ACM) ordered Apple to adjust the unreasonable conditions in its Apple App Store (the “App Store”) that apply to dating-app developers. A summary decision was not published until 24 December 2021 after Apple (...)

The UK Competition Authority secures improved commitments from a Big Tech company on its proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its browser (Google Privacy Sandbox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA secures improved commitments on Google’s Privacy Sandbox* The CMA has secured improved commitments from Google on its proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser. It has been investigating Google’s proposals since the start of the year due to (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds a breach in competition law by a price comparison website that leads to an opt-out collective claim based on the allegation that the website’s conduct led to higher prices of home insurance for consumers (ComparetheMarket)
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
London, 1 November 2021 - An opt-out collective claim on behalf of over 20 million UK consumers of home insurance has been filed today by Home Insurance Consumer Action against the companies behind Comparethemarket.com. The claim follows the Competition and Markets Authority’s finding last year (...)

The UK Competition Authority opens an investigation into the mobile radio network used by all national emergency services after expressing concerns about a company’s dual role as owner of the current network and as key supplier in the future emergency services network (Motorola / Airwave Solutions)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA opens investigation into Motorola’s Airwave network* The CMA has opened an investigation into Motorola’s Airwave network, the mobile radio network used by all emergency services in Great Britain. Motorola Solutions Inc.’s (Motorola) Airwave network is the infrastructure and services that (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority launches an investigation into one of the largest domestic wholesalers of fishing products
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH has caught a big fish among the domestic wholesalers of fishing products* 23 July 2021, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has launched an investigation into one of the largest domestic undertakings engaged in the wholesale of fishing products due to allegedly imposing (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates non-compliance proceedings following a warning which required the company to cease an unfair practice in the highway infrastructures sector (Autostrade)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: non-compliance proceedings initiated against Autostrade per l’Italia* The licence-owner received a fine of €5 million in March but has not yet reduced the cost of tolls on the sections with significant traffic problems. The Italian Competition Authority has initiated a non-compliance (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches a market study into two Big Tech companies’ mobile ecosystems over concerns that they might abuse their dominant position (Google / Apple)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to scrutinise Apple and Google mobile ecosystems* The CMA has launched a market study into Apple’s and Google’s mobile ecosystems over concerns they have market power which is harming users and other businesses. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is taking a closer look at whether (...)

The UK Competition Authority secures commitments from a Big Tech company to address concerns about its proposal to remove third-party cookies on its main internet browser (Google Privacy Sandbox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to have key oversight role over Google’s planned removal of third-party cookies* Following an investigation, the CMA has secured commitments from Google to address concerns about Google’s proposal to remove third-party cookies on Chrome. The CMA is to take up a role in the design and (...)

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority bans a social media company from sharing user data from its subsidiary company (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information
Order of the HmbBfDI: Ban of further processing of WhatsApp user data by Facebook* The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) issued an order prohibiting Facebook Ireland Ltd. from processing personal data from WhatsApp for its own purposes. The order is (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its second interim report which examines the competition and consumer issues associated with the distribution of mobile apps to users of smartphones and other mobile devices
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
On 28 April 2021, the ACCC released its second interim report as part of the five-year Digital Platform Services Inquiry, which examines the competition and consumer issues associated with the distribution of mobile apps to users of smartphones and other mobile devices. In this second interim (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for its refusal to publish an app developed by competitors allowing electric vehicle drivers to search and book an electric charging point while driving (Google / Enel X)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 27 April 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) fined Google for its refusal to publish an app developed by Enel X Italia (“JuicePass”) on Android Auto allowing electric vehicle drivers to search and book an electric charging point while driving. Android Auto is a specific feature (...)

The Delhi High Court reviews the Competition Authority’s inquiry into a Big Tech company’s data privacy policy (WhatsApp)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Delhi High Court Judgement on CCI Inquiry into WhatsApp’s new data privacy policy in India* While reporting on the initial media news in my earlier blog on the same topic published on 23 April 21 , I had promised to come back with a detailed reporting on the above judgment which was then not (...)

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority opens proceedings against a social media company to stop sharing user data from its subsidiary company (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information
Urgency procedure opened against Facebook in connection with the new WhatsApp terms of use* The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) opened proceedings against Facebook Ireland Ltd. with the aim of issuing an immediately enforceable order with the (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches the Digital Markets Unit to look into Big Tech firm’s potential anticompetitive practices
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
The UK Government has launched the long-awaited Digital Markets Unit (DMU) to “help make sure tech giants such as Facebook and Google cannot exploit their market dominance.” The DMU, based in the Competition Markets Authority (CMA), kicked off its work in shadow, non-statutory form on 7 April (...)

The Dusseldorf Higher Court doubts the compatibility with EU law of the Competition Authority’s approach of linking data protection and competition law to find an abuse of dominance, and files a request for a preliminary ruling (Facebook)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
Is Facebook abusing its dominant position in the market by collecting data on its own platforms and on third-party websites and combining it in a large data pool? The Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has decided that unless the users consent to the use of the data, Facebook is abusing its position - (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects a referral filed by a national karaoke studio for lack of evidence (Singing Studio / Karafun)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence rejects the referral filed by Singing Studio in the karaoke sector for lack of evidence* Singing Studio’s complaint Singing Studio, which operates two establishments specialising in karaoke in Lille and Paris, has referred practices implemented by the Karafun (...)

The German Competition Authority accepts a postal service company’s commitments to end its discount system for the dispatch of newspapers and magazines (Deutsche Post)
Ashurst (Frankfurt)
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Ashurst (Munich)
On 26 February 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office ("FCO") closed its six-year investigation into Deutsche Post AG ("DPAG") after securing commitments in connection with practices relating to the dispatch of newspapers and magazines. The FCO suspected that DPAG had abused its dominant (...)

The German Competition Authority welcomes the decision of a postal service company to end its discount system for the dispatch of newspapers and magazines (Deutsche Post)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
The Deutsche Post AG (“DPAG”) has cancelled its until recently practiced discount system in relation to its dispatch services provided to newspaper and magazine publishers. The DPAG`s decision to stop discounting the dispatch services occurred after the German Federal Cartel Office initiated an (...)

The EU Commission accepts a commitment to reduce the price of six cancer medicines by 73% in an excessive pricing case in the pharmaceutical industry (Aspen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 February 2021, the Commission announced that it had accepted a series of pricing and supply commitments from Aspen, thereby bringing an end to its investigation into whether Aspen had infringed Article 102 TFEU by charging excessive prices for six off-patent cancer medicines. Having (...)

The EU Commission accepts the commitment offered by a pharmaceutical company to reduce drug prices by 73% (Aspen)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
“When the price of a drug suddenly goes up by several hundred percent, this is something the Commission may look at” Commissioner Vestager said when opening a formal investigation into Aspen’s alleged excessive pricing conduct in May 2017. On 10 February 2021, the EU Commission (Commission) (...)

The EU Commission accepts the commitment offered by a pharmaceutical company for excessive pricing (Aspen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In February 2021, the European Commission’s (“Commission”) long-running excessive pricing case against Aspen was brought to a close, with Aspen accepting a series of forward-looking pricing and supply commitments, but avoiding any fines or requirements to repay all of the higher prices charged (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines a national natural gas transporter for abuse of dominant position (NET4GAS)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
The office imposed fine amounting to CZK 10,000,000 on NET4GAS for abuse of dominant position* The Office for the Protection of Competition imposed a fine amounting to CZK 10,000,000 on NET4GAS, s. r. o., for abuse of dominant position and prohibited alleged conduct for the future. The (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority imposes a €5.69 million fine on state-owned rail freight company for abuse of its dominant position (LDZ Cargo)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 February 2021, the Latvian Competition Council (“LCC”) announced that it had fined the state-owed rail freight company, LDZ Cargo, €5.69 million for committing two abuses of its dominant position on the Latvian rail freight market (on which it held a market share of between 70% and 80% (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses leveraging of dominance allegation against Big Tech company’s direct messaging and video-conferencing app due to emailing and direct messaging not being part of the same relevant market (Google Meet)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI dismisses allegation of leveraging of dominance for Google Meet Application* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) vide its order dated 29 January 2021 has dismissed an apparently speculative and mischievous information filed by a law student against Google’s alleged leverage of its (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court confirms that long-term contracts for the import of Russian natural gas into Austria did not constitute an abuse of market power through discrimination
Schoenherr (Vienna)
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Schoenherr (Vienna)
On 25 January 2021, the Supreme Court issued a decision on long-term contracts for the import of Russian natural gas into Austria (16 Ok 3/20g). The contracts had been concluded in 2006 for the supply of unstructured natural gas. All of the contracts expired on 31 December 2027. At the time of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority puts an end to the infringement proceedings brought against a Big Tech company for alleged dominance conduct related to a search engine and an online restaurant reservation system prohibited by national antitrust law (Google / El Tenedor)
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
The Spanish Competition authority (“CNMC”) has agreed to put an end to the infringement proceedings brought against Google and El Tenedor in November 2018 for an alleged conduct related to Google’s search engine and Google Maps’ online restaurant reservation system prohibited by Articles 1 and 2 of (...)

The US DoJ announces that a ready-mix concrete company admitted to fixing prices and rigging bids (Argos USA)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Ready-Mix Concrete Company Admits to Fixing Prices and Rigging Bids in Violation of Antitrust Laws* Argos USA LLC, a producer and seller of ready-mix concrete headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, was charged with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate markets for (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes investigations against two football teams for unfair clauses in season ticket contracts (Brescia / Lecce)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: investigations closed against the Brescia and Lecce football teams for unfair clauses in season ticket contracts* The football clubs have modified their contractual conditions, however Lecce’s clauses excluding reimbursement in the event of supervening impossibility of providing the (...)

Procedures

The UK Supreme Court dismisses a single claimant’s landmark class action attempt against a Big Tech company for alleged contraventions of data protection law, but lowers the bar for future representative actions (Google / Lloyd)
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (London)
On 10 November 2021, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of Google in a landmark judgment against an attempt by a single claimant, Mr Richard Lloyd, to bring a representative action on behalf of a class of 4 million iPhone users relating to Google’s alleged contraventions of data protection (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal approves second and third ever collective proceeding applications for two stand-alone claims for abuse of dominance (Gutmann / South Western Trains) (Le Patourel / BT)
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
The first Collective Proceedings Order (“CPO”) was made in the United Kingdom in opt-out collective competition proceedings in Merricks v Mastercard Inc. and Others] on 18 August 2021 (a practical inevitability after the Supreme Court’s judgment in that case). Hot on the heels of that decision, (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal certifies a well-publicized class action litigation against a financial services company (Merricks / Mastercard)
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
The U.K. Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) last week certified the well-publicized Mastercard class action litigation. In our previous article (See Chris Collins, Elvira Aliende Rodriguez, Jonathan Swil, Ozlem Fidanboylu, The UK Supreme Court gives guidance on collective proceedings in (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal grants its first collective proceedings order in a class action (Merricks / Mastercard)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
After protracted challenges to class certification status, in Merricks v Mastercard the U.K. Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) granted its first collective proceedings order (CPO). The claim remains huge, comprising 46.2 million consumers, but Mastercard successfully persuaded the CAT to narrow (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal approves the first application for a collective proceedings order under the competition class action regime (Merricks / Mastercard)
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 18 August 2021 the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) approved the first application for a collective proceedings order (CPO) under the UK’s competition class action regime introduced in 2015, in Walter Hugh Merricks CBE v Mastercard Incorporated and Others. The application was initially (...)

The US Supreme Court rules that the FTC is unauthorized to seek monetary damages in antitrust cases (AMG Capital Management)
Bona Law (San Diego)
The Federal Trade Commission and its Ability to Seek Restitution or Disgorgement Remedies* The US Supreme Court in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission ends, at least for now, the FTC’s habit of seeking monetary damages in court as part of requests for equitable relief. The (...)

The US Supreme Court decides that the FTC is not authorized to seek monetary relief from defendants in federal court, in consumer fraud and antitrust cases (AMG Capital Management)
Reed Smith (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC that Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 (FTC Act) does not authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to seek monetary relief from defendants in federal court. We had anticipated (...)

The US Supreme Court unanimously holds that FTC Act Section 13(b) does not authorize equitable monetary relief (AMG Capital Management)
Baker Botts (San Francisco)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
This morning, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC, finding that Section 13(b) of the FTC Act does not authorize the Commission to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement. 539 U.S. ___ (2021), Slip Op. (...)

The US Supreme Court rules that the FTC does not have authority under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act to seek disgorgement or restitution from defendants (AMG Capital Management)
Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (Philadelphia)
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not have authority under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act to seek disgorgement or restitution from defendants. The agency has increasingly relied on this authority to seek monetary penalties from defendants in antitrust cases, (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that Section 13(b) of the FTC Act does not authorize the Federal Trade Commission to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement (AMG Capital Management)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
On April 22, 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously held that section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act - which authorizes “a permanent injunction”- does not authorize the Federal Trade Commission to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement. (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that the FTC lacks the authority to seek equitable monetary relief in cases brought in federal court under FTC Act Section 13(b) (AMG Capital Management)
Morgan Lewis (Philadelphia)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Boston)
In a unanimous 9-0 decision authored by Justice Breyer, the US Supreme Court has held that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lacks the authority to seek equitable monetary relief in cases brought in federal court under FTC Act Section 13(b). The Court’s April 22, 2021, decision in AMG Capital (...)

The US Supreme Court blocks the FTC from obtaining monetary remedies in most antitrust and consumer protection cases (AMG Capital Management)
Jones Day (Miami)
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Jones Day (Washington)
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Jones Day (Washington)
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in AMG Capital Management v. FTC that Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTCA") Section 13(b) does not authorize the FTC to obtain monetary remedies such as restitution or disgorgement. The Court’s decision is a significant setback for the FTC, particularly in (...)

Regulatory

The Dutch Competition Authority accepts the commitments made by a telecom operator and a fiber-optic company to lower tariffs for competitors to access their networks (KPN / Glaspoort)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM anticipates savings for Dutch households of up to 200 million euros per year because of fiber-optic arrangements* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has published a draft decision following recent proposals from Dutch telecom operator KPN and fiber-optic company (...)

The EU Parliament and Member States reach an agreement on the final text of the Digital Markets Act
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On Thursday, March 25, 2022, the European Parliament and EU Member States reached agreement on the final text of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA marks a paradigm shift in the regulation of digital markets, giving the European Commission unprecedented powers to regulate leading digital (...)

The EU Council and the EU Parliament reach a political agreement on the regulation of contestable and fair markets in the digital sector
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On March 24, 2022 the Council of the EU and the European Parliament reached political agreement on the “Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector” (Digital Markets Act or DMA). The political agreement comes just 15 months after (...)

The EU Parliament and the Council reach an agreement on an act to regulate digital markets and endorse the EU digital strategy
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 24 March 2022, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”), a pioneering initiative to regulate digital markets and endorse the European digital strategy. The DMA would include a set of obligations for “designated gatekeepers”, namely (...)

The EU Parliament and Council reach an agreement on the Digital Markets Act
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
The EU Parliament and Council reached political agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) late on Thursday night. The Commission has been quick to welcome the agreement, stating that the DMA “will bring fairer conditions to consumers and businesses for many digital services across the EU” (see (...)

The Australian Competition Authority joins other national regulators to create a forum for regulating digital platforms
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Agencies form Digital Platform Regulators Forum* The ACCC, Australian Communications and Media Authority, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and Office of the eSafety Commissioner have together formed the Digital Platform Regulators Forum. “The new Digital Platform Regulators (...)

The Australian Competition Authority seeks public feedback on potential new rules for large digital platforms
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Feedback sought on potential new rules for large digital platforms* The ACCC is seeking views from consumers, businesses and other parties on options for legislative reform to address concerns about the dominance of digital platforms. A discussion paper, released today, outlines options for (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority initiates first proceedings under the new Trade Act aiming to expand consumer choice of beverages in the catering sector (KFC / Burger King / Heineken / Dreher/ Borsodi)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH started the new year with 5 proceedings at a time - increased supervision over the procurement of beverages in the catering sector* 6 January 2022, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority has launched its firsts proceedings to enforce provisions of the Trade Act related to the (...)

The Luxembourg Parliament transposes into national law EU Directive 2018/1972 establishing the European electronic communications code
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
The law of 17 December 2021, which implements Directive (EU) 2018/1972 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (the “EECC”) into Luxembourg law, has just been published and, as a Christmas present, will enter into force next week-end on 26 December 2021. Ultimately, this new (...)

The US FTC issues a policy statement announcing increased antitrust and consumer protection enforcement against repair restrictions by manufacturers in numerous sectors
DLA Piper (Washington)
A newly announced change in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) policy could have dramatic implications for the ways manufacturers of everything from cell phones to cars draft warranties, design products, and distribute replacement parts. Specifically, the FTC has set its sights on repair (...)

The Russian Government approves the first national concept of long-term tariff regulation which will apply to housing services, waste management, gas and electricity supply, telecommunications and rail transport
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Government approved the first Russian concept of long-term tariff regulation* It will apply to housing and communal services, waste management, electricity supply, gas supply, telecommunications and rail transport To implement the instructions of the President of the Russian Federation the (...)

The US President Joe Biden signs an executive order encouraging the US FTC to address anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair of items
DLA Piper (Washington)
A newly announced change in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) policy could have dramatic implications for the ways manufacturers of everything from cell phones to cars draft warranties, design products, and distribute replacement parts. Specifically, the FTC has set its sights on repair (...)

The US President Joe Biden signs a sweeping executive order to promote competition, including formation of the White House Competition Council, and directions to federal agencies to crack down on anticompetitive practices and concentrated markets
Constantine Cannon (New York)
Antitrust enforcement in the United States could be reinvigorated to an extent not seen in decades as a result of President Biden’s sweeping executive order on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy” (the “Order”), which aims to enhance business competition, curb corporate dominance, and (...)

The Irish Competition Authority welcomes the publication of the Consumer Protection Bill which brings in additional regulation and consumer protections across newer and emerging credit products and companies
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC welcomes the publication of the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Retail Credit and Credit Servicing Firms) Bill 2021* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) welcomes the publication of the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Retail Credit and Credit Servicing Firms) (...)

The US President Joe Biden issues an executive order which articulates the administration’s broad antitrust policy and instructs antitrust agencies to increase enforcement to prevent a rise in consumer prices and competitive harm in labor markets
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
Takeaways Under the Biden administration’s “whole-of-government” approach to promoting competition, a range of agencies outside the DOJ and FTC have been asked to use their authority to reform markets. Wide-ranging procedural changes at the FTC have expanded its review powers and complicated (...)

The UK Competition Authority and the Data Protection Authority publish a joint statement on how competition and data protection issues overlap in the digital economy
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The well-known (and somewhat over-simplistic) paradox that data protection laws aim to keep personal data contained whilst competition law wants personal data to be more freely available is the premise behind the two UK regulators’ latest collaboration. In the last two years, the UK Data (...)

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